Are you in the market for buying Mind Mapping Software but are overwhelmed by the number of options you are faced?
Well I understand that completely because the amount of software for generating mind maps seems to increase by the day.
Now I am not an expert on the options open to you so I can’t really help you with which one to choose.
I can tell you which ones (yes I use more than one) I use if you like but that would perhaps be a slightly distorted and less than objective recommendation.
What you need to do is consult a true expert (instead of someone masquerading like one).
In my mind there are two people online who seem to have a really good handle on Mind Mapping Software.
There is Vic Gee in his Mind Mapping Blog (more of him in a later post) and Chuck Frey on the excellent Mind Mapping Software Blog.
Now I interviewed Chuck recently about Mind Mapping Software and I asked him this question:
"What should you look for in a decent Mind Mapping Software?"
He gave a really good answer and has shared what he told me in his blog post "5 essential features you should look for when buying mind mapping software"
Go over and check the post out because it will give you some really good advice on what you should be looking for.
He does however miss out one vital feature that I think is absolutely essential.
I am not sure whether it is implied in what he has written or whether he just doesn’t think it is important enough to mention.
The feature I think is vital is that of being able to generate what I call a "lower level subordinate map" from an existing branch.
Here is what I mean.
Let’s say you are working on a map in your chosen software (that you have invested in based on Chuck’s recommendations) and one of the branches starts to get quite big and a bit unwieldy with lots of sub-branches and sub-sub-branches.
One thing you could do is simply collapse that branch so it does not take up much space and then open it up again when you need to see what is on it.
Another thing you could do is generate a new lower level map with the old branch being the new central image and all its sub-branches now being the main branches of the new map.
What is left on the original map is the original branch title minus its sub-branches so what you now need to do is link that branch to the new map.
The written description takes far longer to both write an read than to actually do it but what you have here is the process by which you grow and manage your network of maps.
It would be impossible and certainly impractical to try and keep everything on a single map so the ability to "peel off" a branch and start a new map, but retain the relationship between the orginal branch and the new map is vital for your ability to manage, reference and then later easily access your information.
I believe this ability in a Mind Map Software is VITAL to it being a useful and functional tool and I am sure Chuck would agree with me but for some reason doesn’t specifically mention it in his post.
So if you want to find out what the other 5 essential features are, go over and check out Chuck’s post now.